Today is the first of Advent. Traditionally we light the first candle of the wreath and eat the first christmas cookies of the year in the late afternoon.
So I had to bake some yesterday. Every year I start with a handful of different types of cookies and I am going to bake other types at the next upcoming saturdays. Hopefully christmas we have many different cookies for a colourful plate left (that depends on husband or better: hidden storage areas). Then there are gatherings too where everyone has to bring some christmas cookies and each and everyday collegues visit my office for a little cup of coffee or tea, small talk and a cookie or two. Usually I have a big jar in my office wether it is filled with cookies or small candies, but there must be a mouse or two who are able to open jars. It empties very quickly and I am not the one - I am on diet.
This was the first round
Flower shaped cookies with black currant jam filling called "naughty boys", flower shaped cookies with hazenut-chocolate ganache filling, Zebra-Shortbread with coffee/chocolate dough, round shaped marble-cookies, cube of gingerbread made from honey, spices, almonds, flour and candied oranges with candied cherry on top of the sugar thread glaze.
And there are unbaked cookies drying on the cupboard I will bake this afternoon called little jumpers, cookies known since 1300 AD. They are part of the picture bread family as ginger bread. In former times these cookies showed scenes from the bible or saints, they were some kind of charm and offering too. Later on the scenes changed.
Mine show some animal pictures only - no saints: swans, squirrels, robins, ducks. You need carved wooden molds or a special carved wooden rolling pin to make these cookies. The dough is made from icing sugar, eggs, flour and anise, ammonium carbonate. It glues like hell and you need to roll it out on sugar. The cut out cookies have to dry 24 hours (and try to change there shape during this time). Afterwards they are baked on lower temperatures and they jump up (getting higher) during baking. They have to rest 2 weeks before they can be eaten, first they are hard as stones getting softer everyday. It is a southern german speciality. You don't get them in the north but they sell the molds often at christmas markets (wonder what people do with the molds, maybe for kitchen decoration purpose only).